Hello and welcome, we’re glad you stopped by. We’re the Dieners and our gang is embarking on an incredible adventure and opportunity and we wanted to share it with you, to both inspire you to find your own adventures where you can and so that if adventures aren’t an option, you can follow along with ours.
I am Lynn (your family representative). I am married to D1, my partner in adventure for two decades now. I am a woman, a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend, a writer, a substitute teacher, and this year- I will be a teacher (big gulp). D1 is a man, a husband, a dad, a brother, a friend, a physician, a real adventurer (skiing (both types), triathlons, mountain-climbing), and this year he will be all those things plus teacher (especially PE!). D is our oldest, and he is a boy, a son, a brother, a friend, a student, and a saxophone-player, and he will be in 7th grade this coming year. Djr is technically our middle child, she is a girl, a daughter, a sister (and twin sister), a friend, a student, and a piano-player, and she will be in 4th grade this coming year. A is technically our youngest child, and she is a girl, a daughter, a sister (and twin sister), a friend, a student, and a piano-player, and she will also be in 4th grade this coming year. We are Mennonite, but not the bonnet-type. We look pretty normal, I think… This just means our worldview leans towards believing that we need to remember that we’re called to look after our neighbors and to live simply so that we don’t take more than our fair share in the world, because that’s what we believe Christ asks of us. That is of course a challenge that we strive for but aren’t always very good at accomplishing. We live in the Midwest and in a very small college town and we like it here, though we’re all prone to a bit of wanderlust.
You might notice my family has strange names. That’s to preserve, as much as I can, their privacy. Pictures of the family will be scarce on here, but my family and friends needn’t worry, we’ll share our pictures with you. I know it’s easy-enough to connect dots but for whatever preservation of privacy this provides, I will strive to keep things at least vague.
Well, after reading a few zillion blogs (slight hyperbole there) on homeschooling, I realized I wasn’t quite the typical homeschool mom. I am quite the reluctant homeschool parent. If there was a feasible way to make this adventure work without homeschooling, I’d do it. I am an introvert and I crave quiet and being alone. It’s something I had to wait years for when they were tiny. I love my kids with a massive Mama Bear love and will do whatever I can for them (hence this coming year) but it doesn’t mean that they don’t suck my energy dry.
I also love to write and frankly, it’s hard for me to write when my kids are home. I need big chunks of time and no interruptions, so that doesn’t work well with my kids in-house.
I also noticed that a lot of the homeschool parents are very much into nurturing their families via gardening, canning, sewing, and lots of hands-on crafty things. Did you see me shudder? Yeah. I like to garden but in that “stick the plant in the ground and be done” way. I don’t can vegetables. I sometimes (like every few years after I forget how much I don’t enjoy it) make freezer jam (with fruit bought at local farms). I think I’ve repaired something with needle and thread about three times since I married my husband about 20 years ago. And crafts? I don’t mind doing them myself but I loathe walking kids through crafts. I do it when I need to, but I’m not the mom who always has some fun project going.
This research led me to believe that most homeschool parents are a little bit *crunchy*. I say that with the sincerest appreciation for people who are. I have been accused of it but mostly for political/social justice leanings. In an ideal world, I would totally be a very crunchy granola. I’m just realistic and know that is not me.
About a year ago, on our way back from a trip my husband mused about finally following through on this idea he and I had about taking our kids and showing them the world. Let them see all these things they were only reading about. Let them discover what it’s like to navigate in a place where people don’t look like or talk like you. Help them get a better understanding of how we’re all tied together on this whirling planet.
In theory, this is an amazing thing. But instantly and simultaneously, my heart was both overjoyed and terrified. This would mean homeschooling and my shoulders got tight and I started to panic. Honestly, I started googling “homeschooling” and “introvert” right then, while my husband was still explaining how he thought it could work.
Overtime though, our whole family has gotten behind this idea. We even have one set of grandparents backing the plan by offering room and board for our smallest, furriest family member, so that we don’t have to figure out the logistics of that for a year.
We got the support of our school, the support from my husband’s colleagues, and now we have a curriculum, a plan, and a nervous feeling in our bellies.
We will take roughly two weeks from every month (beginning August, 2017) to travel to different regions of the United States to go explore things like the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore and to visit early settlements, the Trail of Death, and more. These are things that are roughly covered in the school year anyway and this way, the kids will have some hands-on experience with them. In January and February (2018) we will set out on the most complicated part of the plan, we will go international. We’ll visit friends in Africa and Europe and then come back home to finish our in-US trips before the summer ends and then… with what I anticipate will be great exhaustion (and satisfaction), we’ll re-enroll them into school and check this massive dream off our corporate bucket list.